The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing - album launch

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing @ The Barfly, Camden, 9th September 2015

Pic by Immo Horn

Steampunk selection

The Steampunk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing decided to preview their latest selection “Not your Usual Victorians” to their London home crowd in a tiny venue, namely the upstairs room at the Barfly in Camden. It promptly sold out in ten days, in spite of the gig being still a few months away, and zero advertising besides the one on their Facebook page. Came the day, and the venue could have been easily confused with a sardine tin, only with better lighting.

Surprisingly, there were even a few people around who had never been to one of their concerts before, and some of them had even battled to the front row. The reputation of the band as a provider of incredibly energetic concerts had quite obviously brought out fans who were either a bit more reticent or from further away.

Pic by Immo Horn

The warm-up acts were, as usual, more comedy than music. Wil Hodgson was the missing link between punk and My Little Pony: an abundance of Little Pony jokes, him being a long-time fan, while emphasising that he’s not a Brony (and where exactly is the difference?), a round of “show me your early 90s themed tattoo”, and proposing a completely new style of Sylvanian Families.

The second support act were Brian Damage and Krysstal: If Tuppy Owens (the founder of the Sexual Freedom Coalition) and the Marquess of Bath had started a band together, it would look and sound exactly like those two. Which is a big compliment around here.

Pic by Immo Horn

“Not Your Typical Victorians”

The band’s new material continues the tried and tested formula of mixing social criticism of genuine Victorian life (“Third Class Coffin”, “Miner”) and a touch of the not quite supernatural (“This House Is Not Haunted”) with memorable lyrics and bouncy, energetic punky tunes. The classics like “Charlie Darwin” and “Brunel” were enthusiastically sung along to by the audience at full volume. I would safely predict that the more recent songs like “Gin” will arrive on that level within the next few concerts.

Both the guitarist Andrew O’Neill, and the bassist Marc Burrows have alternative careers in stand-up comedy, but the main author of the lyrics is singer Andy Heintz (of Creaming Jesus notoriety), casting a sharp eye on the Victorian age, which is usually glorified by steampunks.

It’s seen here in a much more critical way, without losing the comedy aspect of certain Victorian peculiarities to the modern mind, like in the lyrics to “The Worst Sideshow in the World”, a relative of their previous song “Georgie”.

Pic by Immo Horn

The sound was excellent for such a small crowded venue, loud and clear, and kept up even with the quiet “Moon”, the decidedly more metal tunes of “Margate Fthagn”, and even the rhythmically bouncing and singing audience, which had endangered pint glasses standing on any amplifiers no end.

In contrast to your common or garden punk band, the Steampunk of The Men features not just the usual cast of “guitar, bass, drums”, although Jez’s drum skin features a fetching portrait of Queen Victoria, not at all unlike the notorious Sex Pistols cover. The instrument to watch out for here is the famous musical saw, played a bit like a violin by Andy Heintz, and used extensively in “Moon”.

Pic by Immo Horn

Andrew O’Neill executed a flawless stage dive at the end, complete with flying lacy white dress. Andy Heintz commented: “He’s not wearing any underpants”. Too late. The next headliner gig is at the Camden Underworld, on November 21st. I’d suggest you buy your tickets now.

Pic by Andy Heintz

  • TMTWNBBFN album “Not Your Typical Victorians” is available from Bandcamp as a digital download, on CD, and in a limited edition chocolate and gin tin with CD.